I have been thinking some lately about this whole idea of “worship.” We talk about having Sunday morning worship and Sunday evening worship. Maybe evening Wednesday evening or Saturday night worship. Every time the church meets together we call it “worship.” However, are we truly worshiping?
As I dwelt on this question, I went back and forth with my answer. While sometime we feel deeply touched through the music and the preaching, other times we are distracted by something else.
Then all of a sudden the light bulb went off in my head. In answer to the question “Do we truly worship in each church service?” the answer is an unequivocal “yes.”
Every time that we enter the church building we do indeed worship. The real question, however, should not be “Are we worshiping?” but rather “Who or what are we worshiping?”
The “worship service” is a time that has been set apart to focus on God and determine how we can better know and serve Him. It should be a time when we sit in the presence of God corporately with other believers and think about who He is, what He has done for us, and what He expects of us. Worship is focused on God and what He wants. It’s not about me, you, or anything else. It is solely about God.
What about those times that we enter the church building and our minds are somewhere else? If we were all honest, we would admit that this is the case more often than we would like. Maybe you come into church with a family or work problem on your mind. Maybe as you sit in the service you find yourself mulling over the plans for that new shed you want to build or the recipe you want to make.
Who or what is the object of our worship in such a case? It is me rather than God. When our minds are so preoccupied with other areas of our lives that we are not able to focus on God in this hour set aside for that purpose, we choose to worship ourselves rather than Him.
Let’s be honest. What is primarily on your mind when you come into a church service? In my observation, God is rarely the center of our attention. How do I know this? Well, first of all, I know this because I am just as guilty as the next guy. Second, I listen to the conversations people have about their church.
How often do you hear someone discuss what they learned about God in a recent “worship service” or how they were convinced of their need to serve Him better? Usually our after-church discussions are focused on everything but God. Instead, we are more concerned with the form and format of the church service. Did they sing my favorite type of music? Did the service start and stop when I thought it should have? Were the people on the platform dressed either too casually or too formally? Maybe the pastor preached too much on the holiness of God and not enough on His love. Or possibly he preached too much on His love and not enough on His holiness. I think you get the point.
Occasionally we will sing a chorus that says, “It’s all about you, Jesus.” I wonder if He ever shakes His head and says, “No, it’s not. You don’t meet together to worship me. You worship your own preferences and traditions.” Maybe Jesus looks over at the closest angel, points His finger in our direction, and repeats His words “In vain do they worship me” (Mark 7:7).
This Sunday, why don’t you try to really worship God? Who cares what the others are doing. Let them go on worshiping themselves and their traditions and preferences. Don’t worry about which songs are chosen and what the sermon is about. Just find within them a way to understand better who God is and how you can serve Him more. You’ll enjoy the service a whole lot more. I guarantee it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Let me know what you think or what you would add to this conversation!